Plant Balance - FarmRoad Agronomy Insights

What is plant balance, and what decisions can I make when I know my plants state?

What is plant balance and how can I use it? (video)

What is plant balance?

Plants tell us about their health and how they are using their energy through morphology and growth patterns.

Knowing the plant’s vegetative, generative states enables us to make decisions to steer the plant to use its energy and resources to grow more fruits and flowers or to grow more stem and leaves or maintain a balance of them.

These decisions help us meet our production goals.

Plant Balance Categories

Weak generative
(Synonyms: More generative)

Plants spend more energy to produce generative plant parts and less on vegetative plant parts resulting in poor growth and weaker plants

a2c65fd0-8b87-4723-820f-9271248dbc6dStrong generative

(Synonyms: Generative)

Plants are inclined to spend relatively more energy to produce generative plant parts while maintaining adequate vegetative growth resulting in good growth and strong plants

f18389f8-caa3-41db-b0d5-c340b73ca6faWeak vegetative

(Synonyms: Vegetative)

Plants spend relatively more energy to produce vegetative plant parts while maintaining adequate generative growth resulting in good growth. ”Weak” refers to weak vegetative growth of the plants

f3400644-5312-41f9-ba01-777847d9db22Strong vegetative

(Synonyms: More vegetative)
Plants spend more energy to produce vegetative plant parts and less on generative plant parts resulting in too much vegetative growth. ”Strong” refers to strong vegetative growth of the plants

How can I start using FarmRoad Plant Balance?

Plant Balance is easy to get started with, using FarmRoads data collection tools.

To use Plant Balance you must collect: 

WayBeyond also recommends growers collect:

Data must be collected at minimum once per week to receive weekly Plant Balance assessment

What can I learn from plant growth habits?

Plant growth habits are an indicator of plant balance, general plant growth and health.

A weak plant may indicate that it’s under a stress such as from drought or a disease. A vigorously growing plant with long, thick stems and large leaves are generally an indication of a vegetative plant. On the other hand, a plant with higher fruit load, many flowers, thin stem and small leaves indicates generative plant.  

During growth and development, crops respond to generative and vegetative actions/triggers by allocating their assimilates to generative or vegetative plant parts. For example, in fruiting crops, at low temperature and high humidity, the pull for assimilates by the actively growing parts and fruits is less and that results in more leaf, stem growth, a vegetative response. At higher temperatures, plants may produce a higher fruit load due to higher activity at growing tips of the plants. This also results in weaker vegetative structure of the plants as more assimilates are being consumed by the higher fruit load for their development. Plants are subjected to vegetative and generative triggers daily and depending on the season. Therefore, it’s a constant task for the growers to monitor plant parameters to make sure they take necessary actions to steer the plants towards balance.  

Why measure plant growth? 

By measuring the morphology of the plant using growth parameters, growers can identify vegetative/generative trends and take actions to steer the plant towards a more balanced state.